Director: Sofia Coppola
Production: U.S.A., Japan and France
«I know that I have taken many freedoms, but it was not the great history that interested me.
I wanted to tell the humanity of a woman who was neither innocent nor cruel, neither intelligent nor stupid, whose fate has brought her in the wrong place at the wrong time.»
And it soon becomes clear also from the hard rock that accompanied the shocking pink opening credits as in a music video, that the umpteenth movie about unfortunate Austrian wife of Louis XVI doesn’t care of the history, of the politics, and even of the France, and instead recounts the short life of a teenager in crinoline who «is forced to live in a decrepit society, prisoner of rites incomprehensible to her, from which escapes with the shopping, the parties, the friends, the lover, the game».
Lying on a chaise longue, Marie Antoinette is shining of youth, a mountain of pink candies by her side, a maid on knees puts her in silk slippers. She looks like a top model and indeed the first shot of Sofia Coppola‘s movie is inspired by a famous image of the sophisticated ’70s fashion photographer Guy Burden. Kirsten Dunst, pretty and thin, is a Marie Antoinette slight, frivolous and sad, ignored by the king, despised for lack of heirs and for her wastage.
In between, the movie is all a twirling of beautiful pastel dresses, of ladies who laugh and make gossip, of table games, of mouths full of cream cakes, of cups of champagne (a transgression of Coppola), of dance parties when she is queen (other transgression, at 18 she was not yet), of excessive shopping, of gay hairdressers who kiss on the cheek as today, but out of each Rococo label: the director decides to send to bed the queen seriously, naked except for self-regents stockings, with the charming Swedish Fersen.
The film is a whirlwind of bright colors, cakes, glazed bonbons, parties, games, vice and virtue, to the rhythm of “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow, song of playful childlike style, or on the strings of obscure rock by the Cure and on the undisciplined one interpreted by Strokes. Techno, acid rock and 80s music along with Gluck, Vivaldi and Rameau express at the same time the royal splendor of the period and the energy, the recklessness, the impatience of timeless youth.
A hedonistic Marie Antoinette, lover of glamour in Eighties-style but also a punk rebel in Seventies-style, disoriented as a representative of Generation X.